Colorado 811 took advantage of Tuesday's date (8/11) nationwide and locally in La Junta to promote safe digging for residential handymen and professional excavators alike.

Colorado 811 took advantage of Tuesday's date (8/11) nationwide and locally in La Junta to promote safe digging for residential handymen and professional excavators alike.

The event, sponsored by SourceGas of La Junta and by countless service providers nationally, takes place annually on Aug. 11 to educate individuals digging near homes or businesses about laws and regulations of digging near underground utility lines and the penalties associated with damages as a result of non-compliance with state and federal laws.

Individuals attending Tuesday's event in La Junta were treated to hot dogs, chips and cake and given brochures and tutorials By 811 Damage Prevention Liaison Todd Griffeth and SourceGas staff.

As outlined by Colorado 811, excavators, both residential and commercial, are required by law to call "811" to notify of any intent to dig near underground utility lines. 811 will then notify member companies who, in turn, locate lines, free of charge, to promote safe digging. Failure to do so, said Griffeth, may result in damage to the environment, interruption of service, legal problems and job/project delays.

Penalties for not requesting the location of underground utility lines may include a $200 fee for failure to call 811, and if a facility is damaged as result, $5,000 for the first offense, up to $25,000 for each subsequent offense in a 12 month period and up to $75,000 for more than three offenses in a 12 month period.

"The purpose of events like the one we did today is to promote safe digging," said Griffeth. "Colorado 811 is a free service and is entirely nonprofit and nonregulatory. It is important that people call '811' before they dig so that they don't run into problems. Service providers are more than happy to come out to the site to mark the lines 2-3 days prior to digging."

Colorado 811 held several promotions Tuesday afternoon around the state, including events at Colorado Springs Sky Sox and Colorado Rockies baseball games.

Furthermore, Griffeth is offering SourceGas employees in La Junta a training to promote fast and easy Colorado 811 excavation services and is seeking a local damage prevention council comprised of excavators and facility owners to educate the public about safe digging.

To learn more about Colorado 811, visit www.co811.org or contact Griffeth at (720) 705-7983.